Oldest child? Born in the winter? What your horoscope, birthday, and even birth order could say about you
Whether you’re a firstborn, middle child, baby of the family, or only child, you’ve no doubt heard the clichés about how your family position influences your personality. And while some of them are simply not true (only children aren't always narcissists!), science does show that your birth order in your family and even the month you were born can predict certain traits. Here, four ways you could be—unknowingly—impacted.
1. Spring and summer babies are more likely to have positive outlooks. Research presented in Germany found that the season you were born in may affect your temperament. The explanation: The month may affect certain neurotransmitters, which can be detectable through adulthood. Researchers aren't sure yet why the link exists, but are looking at genetic markers that can influence mood.
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2. Winter-born kids may be more susceptible to seasonal mood disorders. An animal study from Vanderbilt University found that light signals—i.e. how long the days are—when you’re born can affect your circadian rhythms later in life. Your biological clock regulates mood, and winter-born mice had a similar brain response to season changes as people with seasonal affective disorder, which might explain the connection between birth season and neurological disorders.
3. Firstborn children are more conservative. An Italian study found that firstborns are more likely to be in favor of the status quo than secondborns, and therefore have more conservative values. The researchers were actually testing an earlier theory that firstborns internalize their parents' values, and while that theory proved incorrect, they learned that eldest children did have more conservative values themselves.
4. Younger siblings take more risks. A study at the University of California, Berkeley tested the hypothesis that younger siblings are more likely to participate in risky activity by looking at birth order and participation in high-risk athletic activities. They found that “laterborns” were about 50 percent more likely to participate in risky sports than their firstborn siblings. Laterborns are more likely to be extroverts who are open to experiences, and "excitement-seeking" activities like hang gliding are part of that extroversion.